Longtime foster parent faces more sex charges

CALGARY - More sex charges have been laid against a Calgary man once named Foster Parent of the Year.

The number of alleged victims of longtime foster parent Garry Prokopishin, 51, has now risen to four, and police say it could rise again.

In June of 2009, cops received word that Prokopishin was allegedly engaging in sex acts with boys in his care and that he had offered money in exchange for the acts.

An investigation led police to lay charges against him this past February linked to three alleged victims.

Police have now received allegations from a fourth male who lived in the foster home, prompting more charges against Prokopishin for incidents that are believed to have happened between December 2004 and June 2008.

The male was in his mid-teens at the time.

Staff Sgt. Leah Barber said since it is believed 55 foster children, all boys between the ages of 14 and 17, have lived in the home over the past 20 years and it’s very possible there could be more victims.

The investigation is continuing and Barber said police have spoken with up to six of Prokopishin’s former foster kids outside of the four alleged victims.

But cops won’t hunt down those who don’t want to talk, so she’s hoping if there are other victims, they will come forward.

“It’s important for the victim to tell their story,” she said, though she acknowledged it may be difficult to find any other victims.

“In this case, because they’re adults now, there’s some reluctance for them to come forward because they’ve kept it a secret for so long.”

Following the charges in February, Alberta Children and Youth Services launched an investigation and as a result cancelled Prokopishin’s foster care licence, said ministry spokesman John Tuckwell.

Barber said Prokopishin has been released with conditions following the latest charges and is being somewhat co-operative with police.

She said he is not a flight risk.

His conditions include having no contact with minors, not visiting schools, daycares, pools or anywhere that children may be present, not possessing a cellphone or any other electronic communication device, and not contacting the alleged victims.

Prokopishin was charged Tuesday with one count of obtaining or attempting to obtain sex from a person under 18 and one count of inciting sexual contact with a youth by a person in authority.